State’s Wild Horses of New Mexico – Win and Win, Wildlife!

Wild horses of New Mexico can and do legally roam just as do other wildlife. This includes public and private lands except the State lands which are set aside to raise money for schools in NM.

WHOA’s Legislative Work includes:
The NM Wild Horse Protection law passed in 2007 carried by the honorable former Senator Steve Komadina MD for WHOA, has been upheld in now by 8 of 9 judges. The latest ruling is below and is quite clear.

Brief Summary of the Wild Horse Protection legislative work/upheld in court/s in WHOA v NMLB in two cases.
1. These wild horses are subject to the animal cruelty laws of the state unlike all privately owned livestock which are exempt from these protections in NM. (Appellate Court Ruling)
2. If a private property owner does not want them on their property, they not only have the right, but the obligation to fence them out. ( District Court Ruling below)
3. It is illegal to trap or lure a wild horse in NM.
4. These wild horses are not under the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Livestock Board given that they are not owned and are not livestock (born and raised on a ranch).
5. These horses are protected/regulated under statute, hence common law (called ratione soli) which allows for ownership of wild animals that come onto one’s private land (like “bunnies”) no longer applies since at least 2007 when these wild horses became protected/regulated legislatively. NMSA 77-  18-5. (General Animals section which the Livestock Board does not have jurisdiction over, including skunks, chimps, wild canines, etc. )
6. These horses belong to the people of the state as a natural resource and as such, cannot be legally rounded up. Horse Theft in NM is a minimum sentence of 2 yrs and a maximum sentence of 7 yrs in prison.


+WHOA is the only non-profit in New Mexico that has passed protective legislation for wild horses in NM. This legislation calls for management by contraception and management of the range.

+WHOA is the only non-profit in NM that has gone to court to uphold this new law in New Mexico. WHOA has won for the wild horses both times.

+WHOA also stopped the brutal helicopter roundups in the USDA Carson National Forest in 2004 through administrative appeal and large media supported protest.  + This has caused the USDA Forest Service to utilize lure trapping instead of helicopters. + WHOA has also caused immuno-contraception to be an allowed option for population management in the Carson National Forest since 2004.

+WHOA has defended these wins for the our New Mexico wild horse treasures and their habitat against the opposition promoting BAD Bills SB126 in 2017 and Kill Bill SB158 in 2018. These two bills were carried by Senator Pat Woods recipient of over $1 Million in USDA funding for his ranch through time. These BAD bills are now ended and replaced, by HM093 and


The bad bills were supported by the following lobbyists:

  • Cattle Growers of New Mexico
  • APV lobbyist of APNM (Yes, this is counter intuitive!   )
  • New Mexico Farm Bureau
  • Wool Growers
Send your email, we’ll be happy to send this entire ruling. Scroll down for the entire Appellate ans Supreme court
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